Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Massive wildfire rehabilitation underway in Idaho, Oregon

A federal plan to rehabilitate 436 square miles of scorched rangeland in southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon containing important sage grouse habitat and grazing land for ranchers calls for spending about $67 million over five years. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management released the 71-page plan late last week that includes massive plantings of grasses, several types of flowering plants known as forbs, and shrubs, with more than $26 million being spent on seeds and seed planting. The effort follows the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision last month that sage grouse don’t need protection under the Endangered Species Act because of conservation efforts taking place in multiple states. Beth Corbin, a botanist with the bureau who worked on the plan and is taking part in the rehabilitation, said a main challenge will be trying to establish native plants as well as preferred non-native plants before fire-prone cheatgrass and other invasive plants can move in and take over. “We’re doing our best to reseed the area to restore perennials that may not recover otherwise,” Corbin said. She said the plan includes planting the species of sagebrush in the areas where it was present before the fire, a key component as the different types of sagebrush thrive under somewhat different conditions, and sage grouse themselves prefer certain types of sage brush...more

 The federal formula would appear to be something like this:

agency mismanagement = large, hot fire(s) = more dollars for the agency

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